Source: Deseret News, The Radioactive Killer, by Sara Israelsen-Hartley, Jan, 29, 2020 SALT LAKE CITY…
Radon is a scary subject. You may not even understand what it is and why it is important. That’s okay, we are here to help. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is created when uranium in soil and rocks decays. Radon accounts for up to 70% of the radiation that we are exposed to here in Utah. Obviously, it’s not a great thing to have in your home. In order to make sure your home is protected there are a few phrases you should know. First, radon testing. Radon is odorless, colorless and tasteless and can only be detected with specialized radon testing. Next, active radon reduction and passive radon reduction. So what is the difference between the two and which do you need?
Active radon reduction is a mitigation system of pipes and a fan that are installed into your home that pulls radon from below the foundation of the home and vents it out into the air. If your home has been tested for radon and has high levels, click here to learn more about active radon reduction. The term passive radon reduction can mean a few different things. Let’s dive in and learn more.
Passive Radon Reduction
When you hear the term passive radon reduction, generally a passive mitigation system is being discussed. When a passive mitigation system is present, that means that a system was installed before construction of the house was completed. It consists of a system of pipes installed in new construction that is concealed in the walls like your plumbing lines. Until it is hooked up to a fan, it is considered a passive system. If radon levels are found high after construction, a fan can be connected, turning this into an active radon reduction system. This is more cost effective to do during the construction phase rather than installing the system after. This is becoming more and more common during the construction phase. If you are building a new home, consider installing a system before construction is complete.
Sealing or caulking is sometimes also considered a way of creating passive radon reduction. Sealing cracks, openings around sump pits or sewer lines can help prevent radon from entering the house. Also, dirt or gravel crawl spaces can raise the radon levels in your home, there are special ways to seal this to help lower radon levels that enter the home. However, the EPA does not recommend the use of sealing alone to reduce radon levels because it does not lower radon levels significantly or consistently. It works best in conjunction with an active radon reduction system.
Is Passive Radon Reduction Enough?
A passive radon reduction system installed in your home during construction can help prevent radon from entering the home. And if radon levels are still elevated, it is simple to connect a fan and turn it into an active radon reduction system. If you are building a new home, this is definitely the way to go.
If you have been living in your home for awhile or are buying a home, testing is the only way to determine if you have a radon problem. When high levels of radon are found, it is recommended to install a radon mitigation system. Sealing cracks and any openings into the foundation may help, but not enough to reduce high radon levels consistently. When a mitigation system is installed, cracks and opening will be sealed at that time as well. So while passive radon reduction can help, it may not be enough to reduce already high levels of radon.
Building a new home? Talk to your contractor about having us install a passive radon mitigation system. It can be done quickly and very cost effectively. Buying a new home? Don’t close the deal without testing for radon. We work with real estate agents and have supra-key access to get testing completed quickly during the due diligence phase. If you have not had your home tested for radon, simply fill out the form on this page, or call us at 801-871-0715 to get started. We offer free residential testing throughout Utah. Don’t wait, exposure to radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Protect your family and test for radon immediately.